Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Top 5 albums of 2012 - no arguments brooked

Picking the top 20 albums of the year was a difficult task, but picking the top 5was easy ... these stand out amongst all the great music I've heard this year (and I've heard a lot!)

5 - THE NEW DIVISION - Shadows
Whisper it, but I think this actually came out in 2011. Never mind, though, because it has been an album I have listened to constantly this year. Hailing from California, the band sound like they spent their youth listening to the sounds of Manchester during the post-punk years. New Order definitely springs to mind, but the songs have a more relaxed, almost chilled, quality to them than their northern England heroes.
4. JAKE BUGG - Jake Bugg

Every so often, an artist comes along who justs blows you away with his talent. It is especially memorable when that artist is a mere 18 years old. Jake Bugg is a troubadour .... mixing modern sounds (especially Britpop) with a bit of rock 'n' roll, a bit of bluegrass, a bit of r 'n' b.  The results are an album of pure joy. The new Bob Dylan? Or the new Johnny Cash?
3. DEEP SEA ARCADE - Outlands

My tastes in music are catholic, but musical heaven for me is quality pop music played in a traditional guitar - bass - drums style. Even happier if a bit of Hammond organ is thrown in. Total bliss if the music comes with a dash of psychedelia. For those of you already familiar with this album, it will come as no surprise that I fell in love with it from pretty much the first time I heard it. They are from Australia. They have a brilliant drummer. This is a brilliant album


One of my favourite albums from last year was "Rome", produced by the ubiquitous Danger Mouse. It comes as no surprise that my 2nd favourite album of the year also sees Brian Burton at the controls. Electric Guest are four guys from Los Angeles who have produced an album that manages to come across as upbeat and rather sad at the same time. It's funky, soulful, laid-back, uplifting, and the band borrow musical styles with abandon. A must-listen album for everyone.
and now .... cue drum roll and, perhaps, a fanfare ....

 1. DJANGO DJANGO - Django Django

Some of the best music comes about when a band allows a song to organically grow from a groove ... a rhythmn that underpins the song and keeps on going as the band add layer upon layer to it. Certain bands immediately sping to mind ... the legendary Beta Band for one. Where this lot have the advantage is that they have the songwriting talent to go along with their musicianship. The single "Default" grabbed mny attention initially but it is just one of an entire album full of brilliant music. The Beta Band certainly come to mind when you listen to this, but so too do the Beatles and even The Beach Boys.  I defy you not to love this album to bits




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